American scimitar cats were about the size of today's lion. They had relatively long forelimbs, short powerful hind-limbs and short, lynx-like tails. The upper fangs were shorter and flatter than those of sabre-tooth cats and they curved like a scimitar. The edges were razor-sharp and serrated.
Although much rarer than the sabre-tooth cat, the American scimitar cat ranged broadly throughout North America from Yukon and Alaska to Florida and Texas. At Friesenhahn Cave in Texas, remains of 20 adults and 13 cubs were collected. The number suggests that they denned there over a long period of time. Young mammoths seem to have been their main prey, for remains of 300 to 400 juveniles were also found in this cave.
American scimitar cats survived toward the end of the last glaciation. Their extinction is probably linked to that of the mammoths, their favourite prey.